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Kremlin describes calls to put Nord Stream 2 in mothballs over Navalny case as 'emotional'

On August 20, Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny collapsed in mid-flight, which sparked speculations of his alleged poisoning

MOSCOW, September 3. / TASS /. The Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov described calls to stop the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project due to the situation with blogger Alexei Navalny as "emotional" on Thursday.

"These are rather emotional statements that are not based on specific fact. This [Nord Stream 2] is an international commercial project that is implemented in the interests of both Russia and Germany, as well as the entire European continent," Peskov told reporters, commenting on relevant statements from Germany.

On September 2, the German government issued a statement that German military toxicologists had found traces of a nerve agent of the Novichok family in Navalny's body. Berlin called on Moscow to explain the incident with Navalny and promised to inform the Russian ambassador on the results of the lab tests.

Then, Peskov told TASS that the Kremlin was unaware of the German authorities’ conclusions that Navalny was allegedly poisoned with the Novichok toxic agent. The Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out that Moscow was still waiting for a reply from Germany to a request filed by the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office for information about Navalny. Earlier, Russia had reiterated that it was interested in investigating the incident. A source told TASS that Russian forensic experts had not found any poisonous or toxic chemicals in Navalny’s system and on his belongings. Moreover, during an inquiry the police had found no evidence of intentional infliction of bodily harm to Navalny.

Meanwhile the opposition party Alliance 90/The Greens demanded that the implementation of Nord Stream 2 be stopped. At the same time, a few hours before the publication of new details on the situation with the Russian blogger, the representative of the German Cabinet of Ministers Ulrike Demmer said that it was inappropriate to link the implementation of the project with what happened with Navalny, and recalled the words of German Chancellor Angela Merkel that Nord Stream 2 is "a purely economic project" and "must be completed."

Navalny was rushed to a local hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk on August 20 after collapsing on the Tomsk-Moscow flight. He fell into a coma and was put on a ventilator in the intensive care unit. On August 22, he was airlifted to the German hospital Charite. On August 24, German doctors said that indicators of cholinesterase inhibitors had been found in his body. The doctors added that his life was out of danger but long-term complications for his nervous system could not be ruled out.

The United States has been actively opposed to the construction of the pipeline. At the end of December 2019, the project was suspended because the Swiss company Allseas stopped construction work due to US sanctions. Later, the House of Representatives of the US Congress approved the draft defense budget, which obliges Washington DC to tighten sanctions against Nord Stream 2.